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Making art gives me balance.

I just retired from my work as a commercial interior designer after 50-plus years. The last 20 have been especially important to me because I specialized in senior living facilities, from what we in Canada call independent living through to long-term care and care for people living with cognitive disabilities. 

My husband Ken lives in one of those residences. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2015.

I came from a very creative family.  My mother was a newspaper journalist, and later a book editor. She was also a wonderful cook, with a collection of 5,000 cookbooks, all cross-referenced and cataloged! My father was a doctor, but he was also a wonderful photographer. There are photos of me when I was three, sitting at a little desk with crayons and pencils. At university, I studied theater design, and later l did a technical diploma in interior design. The work itself was creative, so art-making for pure joy went on the back burner. But I’ve always done something creative, whether designing interiors, knitting, and needlework, or making a piece of art. 

In 1994 I had laser eye surgery that was unsuccessful, and I couldn’t draw for about five years. That was devastating. I needed seven surgeries to correct it, as well as training to be able to refocus my vision. When I was able to draw again, I looked around on the internet for online art programs, and I found Sketchbook Skool. You’d be engaged over a number of weeks, really learning a particular skill through a panel of artists. I thought, This is for me. My first course was Seeing, and after my experience, I really knew what it was like to see things differently!

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